The New Gulliver

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The New Gulliver
Directed by Aleksandr Ptushko
Written by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (uncredited) [1]
Aleksandr Ptushko
Grigori Roshal
Based on
StarringVladimir Konstantinovich Konstantinov (Gulliver)
Ivan Yudin
Shaolin Santiago (unconfirmed)
Music byLev Shvarts
CinematographyNikolai Renkov
Release date
  • 25 March 1935 (1935-03-25)
Running time
75 min
CountrySoviet Union

The New Gulliver (Russian : Новый Гулливер, Novyy Gullivyer) is a Soviet stop motion-animated cartoon, and the first to make such extensive use of puppet animation, running almost all the way through the film (it begins and ends with short live-action sequences). [2] The film was released in 1935 to widespread acclaim and earned director Aleksandr Ptushko a special prize at the International Cinema Festival in Milan. The part of Gulliver was played by Vladimir Konstantinov, who was born in 1920 and died in 1944 near Tallinn in the Second World War. This was his first and only film role.



The story, a Communist re-telling of Gulliver's Travels , is about a young boy who dreams of himself as a version of Gulliver who has landed in Lilliput suffering under capitalist inequality and exploitation.

The pioneer Petya Konstantinov (Vladimir Konstantinov), as an award for the best young OSVOD member of Artek, receives his favorite book — "Gulliver's Travels" by Johnathan Swift. Together with other pioneers who repaired the sailboat "Artek" with their own hands, he goes on for a walk to the Adalara's islands which are near the summer camp. There, during vacation, children ask the leader to read them aloud Petya's book. Petya falls asleep while reading and finds himself in the world described in the book.

In the dream, Petya travels by ship, but during sailing, his vessel is attacked by pirates. Together with three captives, the boy fights with them and wins, but at this moment, the pirate ship crashes into the rocks. The teenager recovers ashore, surrounded and tied up by Liliputians. He is put to sleep with a potion. At this time in the parliament, there is a debate on what to do with the new Gulliver. Ministers on behalf of the king make the decision to use Gulliver for military purposes. The boy is transported to the city by means of 15 tractors and a special platform. Petya is awoken by the king who puts a sceptre up to his nose. He learns about the decision which was made by the parliament, but disagrees with it. After that under his feet a military parade passes.

At this time, somewhere in cellars, a meeting of workers passes. Strike is appointed next day. The workers decide to find out who he is and find Petya's notebook on Russian language from which they learn that he is for the mighty union of workers from all around the world.

Petya is fed from the conveyor, with a crane being used to feed him. The whole Royal Court is present, and the corps de ballet performs. When they start singing to him how well people live under the leadership of the wise king, Petya interrupts the singer and starts singing the pioneer song. It is picked up by workers in the cellars. The court disperses in horror.

The police chief decides to kill Petya, and instructs employees of the underground plant to make a batch of weapons. The workers warn him, and the police learns about it immediately, but at this time, strike already begins. Workers take over the arsenal. The police tries to poison the boy, but he doesn't swallow the poison and spits it out, having pretended that he has died. Military operations begin. Insurgents are thrown to the sea by armed forces of Liliputia, but Petya goes into action, he seizes the royal ships. Workers on the earth develop success, undermine land mines and tanks. The guard and the court runs away. The king does not manage to hold on to the tower and, when falling, seizes an arrow of the tower clock. Petya blows in the horn which inexplicably appears in his hands, removes the bell from the city tower belfry and then shakes it in a manner of a hand bell. Then he proclaims: "The meeting of free Liliputiya I declare open!" and wakes up from the laughter of companions as he said the last phrase aloud.


English Russian
ScenarioGrigory Roshal
Alexander Ptushko
Григорий Рошаль
Александр Птушко
Statement of the honored artist of the republic A. L. PtushkoПостановка заслуженного артиста республики А. Л. Птушко
The director of photographyN. S. RenkovН. С. Ренков
The operatorI. ShkarenkovИ. Шкаренков
The artist of dollsSarr MokilСарра Мокиль
The artist of sceneryY. ShvetsЮ. Швец
SculptureOlga TayozhnayaОльга Таёжная
PaintingA. NikulinА. Никулин
PropertiesA. ZharenovА. Жаренов
The composerLev ShvartsЛев Шварц
The sound technicianA. KorobovА. Коробов
The text of songsSamuil BolotinСамуил Болотин
The chief of groupA. MininА. Минин
AnimatorFyodor Krasniy (in credits it isn't specified)Фёдор Красный (в титрах не указан)



After experimenting with various animation techniques from 1928-1932, including the combination of puppets and live action in the same frame, Ptushko (along with the animation crew he had assembled over the years) began work on his first feature film. Written and directed by Ptushko, The New Gulliver was one of the first feature-length films to combine stop-motion animation with live-action footage (the first few were made by Willis O'Brien, who was responsible for The Lost World and King Kong ).

After the film's success, Ptushko was allowed by Mosfilm to set up his own department, which became known as "the Ptushko Collective," for the making of stop-motion animated films. This group of filmmakers would produce another fourteen animated shorts from 1936 to 1938, and a new feature, The Golden Key , in 1939.

"My liliputian-girl"

In the children's movie, there was also a place of the parody to bourgeois and "antinational" art against which furiously fought in the USSR. Decadent love romances, in particular performed by Alexander Vertinsky, were a sign of petty-bourgeois, pre-revolutionary and emigrant bourgeois life, Chansons had to parody them. However, on a twist of fate, the song of the impresario Fo-Lya "My liliputian-girl" (the text — Samuil Bolotin, music — Lev Schvarts) became some kind of classics, as well as Vertinsky's songs which it parodied. The song:

My liliputian-girl, come to me,
We will stay minute alone!
With you it is careless as a bird, I will be turned,
My liliputian-girl, my dream!
My liliputian-girl, my love,
Having mixed words, I sing without words:
"La-la-la-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la-la!"
My liliputian-girl, my dream!


The New Gulliver featured 3,000 different puppets. Each of the puppets had a detachable head, which made them capable of a wide range of expressions and personality. A live actor and mechanically-operated puppets were used in some shots, while in others, both the Lilliputians and the boy were animated puppets (a full-size puppet of the boy was constructed).

The main puppet characters (the Abbott, the Dandy, the Financier, the King, the Chief of Police, the Prime Minister) had, according to Ptushko, "from two to three hundred interchangeable heads with various facial expressions". [3]



Writing for The Spectator in 1936, Graham Greene gave the film a good review, commenting that "even if the theme seems to us a little dusty, [...] the execution and invention awake our admiration". Comparing the story to Alice in Wonderland , Greene notes that "there are moments of delightful satire", and praises "the marvellous ingenuity of the puppets [as] beyond praise. One soon begins to regard them as real people and to give critical applause to the perfromers." [4]

The edition on video

At the beginning of the 1990s, the movie was released on videotapes by the film association "Krupnyy Plan". At the beginning of the 2000s, it was reissued on VHS by the Master Teyp company.

On 10 March 2005, the movie was released on DVD by Soyuz Video studio. Restored versions of the movie on DVD were also issued by the Retro-klub, Vostok V, Videobaza and Music-treyd company.

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  1. 1 2 Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. The Complete Works in 5 Volumes. Volume 1. ed. by Vadim Perelmuter. Saint Petersburg: Symposium, 2001, 688 pages. ISBN   5-89091-132-5
  2. The animation for Ladislas Starevich's The Tale of the Fox was completed in 1930, but the film was not released until 1937.
  3. Pettigrew, Neil (1999). The Stop-Motion Filmography. MacFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 509–511. ISBN   0-7864-0446-9.
  4. Greene, Graham (27 November 1936). "The New Gulliver/Bullets or Ballots/The White Angel". The Spectator . (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. Oxford University Press. pp. 120–121. ISBN   0192812866.)